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Getting Ready to Downsize? Don’t Go it Alone!

There are many events in life that can prompt you to move or downsize to a smaller, more appropriate-sized living space. Some of them, unfortunately, are fraught with stress: divorce, death of a spouse, changing finances, and increasing frailty are just a few examples. Combine this stress with the logistical and emotional struggle involved in sorting through a lifetime of treasured possessions, and you have the makings of a truly unpleasant experience.

That is why if you are considering downsizing or moving, you might think about bringing a professional in to help you deal with all these potential problems.

A move (whether it is to a shared living arrangement, an apartment, or to a smaller house) usually involves getting rid of a lot of personal belongings that may not have a place in your new home. Deciding what to keep and what to sell or donate can be both physically overwhelming and emotionally traumatic for many people. Bringing in a professional organizer – someone who can help make clear, objective decisions about what to keep and what to part with, as well as find the right resources for donating or selling the things you no longer need – can take a huge burden off your shoulders. A professional organizer can also help you determine which items will fit well into your new, Golden Girls home, and which possessions do not.

Another area that some professional organizers specialize in is paper management. In getting ready for a move, you may come across years of accumulated files that are out of date and no longer needed as you transition to your new home. A professional organizer can help you decide which papers you need to keep, which ones you can scan, and which ones can go straight to the shredder or recycle bin. The last thing you need to be doing is packing and moving boxes of useless paper!

Professional organizers can also help you plan the logistical aspects of your move and provide both physical and moral support on moving day (sometimes taking the place of a son or daughter when they can’t be there to help a parent). A professional organizer can help supervise the move itself, and then on the other end make sure that everything gets unpacked and organized into the right spot, so that your new place feels like home right away. Starting out with “a place for everything and everything in its place” can make moving to a shared house, new apartment or home that much easier.

Finally, consider a mental health professional as an essential part of the equation, especially if your move is due to a major life change. There are many professionals that specialize in helping people work through these kinds of transitions. They have the ability to help you through the mental and emotional turmoil that accompanies life-changing events such as divorce, illness or other loss, and make you feel at home in your new life.

There are many experienced professionals who can help you navigate these choppy waters – don’t go it alone!

This post was contributed by Penny Catterall, founder of Order Your Life. Since 2009, Order Your Life has helped clients in the Washington, DC Metro area control clutter, improve workflow and make life simpler. Order Your Life offers home organization services, as well as downsizing, move management and settling in services. They are also available to help you organize ‘virtually’ anywhere in the world.